Jobless rate 7% in July, underemployment at 6-year high


Posted at Sep 18 2012 11:41 AM | Updated as of Sep 19 2012 12:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -  The number of unemployed Filipinos stood at 2.8 million in July, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said on Tuesday.  

The country's unemployment rate of 7% in July was basically flat,  from 6.9% in April and 7.1% a year ago.

In a statement, the NSO said the total labor force stood at 40.4 million as of July, with a labor force participation rate of 64%. This was slightly lower than 40.6 million in April. 

The number of Filipinos who have jobs stood at 37.6 million, with more than half in the services sector. Nearly a third were in agriculture and the rest were in industry, particularly manufacturing and construction.   

Underemployment rate rises 

However, the July underemployment rate rose to 22.7%, with 8.5 million underemployed workers, higher than April's 7.3 million. This was the highest underemployment rate since July 2006. 

The NSO considers "underemployed" persons as employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.

"Employment quality deteriorated, however. The underemployment rate rose from 19 percent in July last year to 22.7 percent in July 2012. The high underemployment rate, can be partly attributed to the bulk of the new labor force entrants, those aged 15-24 years old, who may be employed as casuals and receiving less than their reservation wage, owing to their lack of skills or inexperience," Dr. Emmanuel F. Esguerra, NEDA Deputy Director-General for Planning, said, in a statement. 

About 54% of the underemployed worked for less than 40 hours a week, most of them working in the services and agriculture sectors.      

"Moreover, the higher underemployment rate suggests that workers are not earning enough  which makes them look for more work," Esguerra said.

The Philippines' jobless rate is among the highest in Southeast Asia, and compares with around less than 7% in  Indonesia, 2% in Singapore, and 0.7% in Thailand. - With Reuters